Smart Cloud-based Analytics; Not “Pie in the Sky” Promises

By | May 30, 2013

For much of cloud computing’s history – from the cumulus imagery used in early diagrams depicting the interconnectedness of a nascent Internet, to the term’s first public use in San Jose at a 2006 search conference and beyond –Teradata has been in a position to capitalize on the possibilities and optimize for our clients the cloud’s potential for simplicity and scalable computing power. But we do it in a way that sidesteps the cloud’s “not so silver lining” of documented concerns around security, privacy, downtime, data loss and latency issues.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines cloud computing at great length; but essentially we’re talking about a “model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources” in a way that involves “minimal management effort or service provider interaction” and things like rapid scalability, elasticity of resources and on-demand self-service.

A solution provider’s ability to get this mix right is critical for any company that relies on fast, clear, accurate, affordable and secure data analytics for competitive advantage. Teradata’s own approach involves a range of both public, private and hybrid cloud deployment models that can be customized to suit a client’s needs. For a detailed overview of our own array of cloud computing solutions, take a look at a white paper from Enterprise Management Associates, or a Teradata Magazine article penned last year by Paul Barsch. For the purposes of this blog, I’ll illustrate our approach to both the public and private cloud through a couple of use cases.

A Public Cloud Solution for BevMo!

A few years ago, while some vendors and industry watchers were still talking about cloud computing in the future tense, Teradata was already deploying proven cloud solutions for customers.  Take for instance, what we’re doing with BevMo!, a west coast retailer of wine, spirits and gourmet foods. Our Teradata Cloud Services quickly provided BevMo! with an integrated and managed data warehousing environment. By accessing Teradata hardware, software, managed services and customer services in the cloud, BevMo! was able to get flexible, secure and scalable data analytics on a subscription basis. The ability to forego big capital expenditures in favor of monthly operational costs was beneficial to cash flows as BevMo’s Vice President of Information Technology Bob Graham explained in a webinar with Teradata.

Getting to analytics deployment—faster—is one key advantage of cloud computing. Bob Graham concurs; “Within one week, [Teradata] had a proof of concept up and running. That was pretty exciting, and it opened some eyes about what was possible.” The Teradata-BevMo! solution brought clarity to customer and transaction detail, followed by a focus on master data management that Bob Graham says “really opened up the world on how the business actually operates.” BevMo! is leveraging Teradata Cloud Services for competitive advantage with advanced analytic capabilities on things like SKU and vendor data management, business and regulatory compliance, invoice error reduction and sophisticated pricing analytics that involve product, cost, location and other variables.

Meredith and the Teradata ADW Private Cloud

Meanwhile, media and marketing giant Meredith recently turned to Teradata for a powerful private cloud solution to get the most from its sizable data assets. Through traditional and new media channels around brands like Better Homes and Gardens, Parents and Ladies Home Journal, Meredith had developed information on over 100 million women and as many as 3,000 data points drawn from surveys, location information and other sources. The company also relies heavily on list rental. We built a private cloud solution around Teradata Active Enterprise Data Warehouse for Meredith to reap faster, more accurate data analyses for immediate and relevant messaging to consumers in near real time.

This has helped the company improve reach and reduce loss among its subscriber base. Meredith can now run 600 campaigns a month instead of 300, and the company has slashed segment analysis time from 24 hours to less than one hour.   Meredith also takes advantage of Teradata’s professional services to help with common tasks, which frees up their DBA’s to do more complex activities.

Meredith chose a private cloud solution with Teradata for a number of reasons (you can learn more in a video we produced). Chief among these reasons is Teradata’s unique ability to provide elastic performance on demand in a private cloud environment. Meredith’s business necessarily involves spikes in usage, especially during certain seasons where customers and prospects go online for promotions. The Teradata ADW Private Cloud offers extra data warehousing performance when Meredith needs it, on a pay-per-use basis.

As I mentioned, the nuances of cloud computing infrastructure are not something the enterprise client should be expected to master; that’s the job of Teradata and other technology and service providers. But this measure of trust makes our role that much more important. We are not the first or largest provider of cloud related services, but our ability to make the right decisions over the years has positioned us to manage our clients’ data responsibly whether in a private or public cloud environment, and in a way that is profitable for them.

Scott Gnau

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